Chapter 162 Relax Guys
Just under an hour later, Ikaris joined Malia and the rest of the volunteers at the gate of the village. Ruvaen, Kailu, Liam and the other three recommended Werewolves were all present and heavily armed. More than usual.
Ruvaen had traded his bow for a battle axe and two scimitars. The reason was that arrows were not the most effective weapon against skeletons until his magic returned to its former glory. Or else he could have enchanted his arrows to make them lethal at the slightest graze of an enemy bone.
Kailu had swapped his clothes for one of the light armors Ikaris had bought the day before, but had kept his own longsword, whose finely crafted golden hilt betrayed that it was probably worth more than all the other weapons in their party combined.
Last but not least, the most impressive thing was that Liam and the other three Werewolves had transformed in broad daylight. As a result, their equipment was not the same as usual, the straps of their leather armor having been loosened to the max to accommodate their new frame.
"This is Luka, Javier and Noreen, the three trusted warriors who have volunteered. I trust them with my life. It was Javier who spotted the Skeleton yesterday." Liam snarled in a deep monstrous voice that reverberated all the way to their bones. "No one in my pack really has any talent for magic, but with their diligent efforts they still reached the rank of Novice Sorcerers. With their Bloodline, they can surpass most human Body Sorcerers in strength and raw speed."
Ikaris and the others looked at the three Werewolves differently. If his memories didn't deceive him, he hadn't encountered them during the Hellhound Village raid. Even if he had, with his Tartarus Enforcer it wouldn't have made any difference to the outcome.
The teenager now had to look up to stare the Alpha Werewolf in the eye. The gray wolf was almost 3 meters tall in its bipedal position. Its hot breath reeking of blood and fresh meat could intimidate anyone who was not mentally prepared for such promiscuity with this predator.
Luka was a reddish-brown Werewolf of a little more than 2.2 meters with a slimmer build, more built for speed and explosiveness. Javier was a tad shorter, but he was almost twice as broad-shouldered, his musculature and ash-gray fur on par with Liam's.
Noreen was only two meters tall and although it was not obvious with her dense white, brown, black fur, one could guess from her narrower shoulder frame that it was indeed a woman hiding under that beastly appearance. Apart from her, there was only one other female Werewolf fighter in Liam's pack and she was much older and had her right arm amputated.
What was even more humbling about these three Werewolves was their incredible calm. That Liam could do it was one thing, but he was the Alpha. It was expected of him. Yet these three Werewolves were as stoic and relaxed as they were in their human form. It spoke volumes about their self-control.
Besides, it was no longer a full moon. Not all Werewolves were capable of such a perfect transformation in the middle of the day. Ikaris for one was not yet able to do so.
When he tried to use his Appraisal Spell on them, he was immediately met with strong resistance, his stamina consumed in an endless pit. He immediately stopped.
Smiling at the three Werewolves recommended by Liam, Ikaris harped, "The goal is not to risk our lives today. Although it is an honor to have you here, I hope you won't need to prove Liam's point."
The three warriors looked at him more favorably after that. Luka stroked the edge of his massive battle-axe with his claws and said, "Don't worry, my Lord. We're professionals."
"Let's go, then."
Everyone complied without a fuss, but it soon became apparent that two of their companions were uncomfortable in the presence of the Werewolves: Ruvaen and Kailu. Within minutes of leaving Last Saint, it became clear that this would affect their cooperation.
Ruvaen because of his distrust of anything that didn't have long pointy ears like him and Kailu because it was the first time he had seen four turned Werewolves so up close. Usually, those who experienced this did not live to tell the tale.
"Relax guys." Malia laughed as she gave them several vigorous slaps on the back, causing them to cough. "They're not going to eat you."
The elf glowered at her, but refrained from retorting anything. Their young Healer didn't have as many filters and he saw this as a chance to break the ice.
"Cough, cough... Why are you and Ikaris so serene?" Kailu asked with genuine curiosity. " With all due respect to the four of you, but aren't you afraid that their instincts will get the better of them? It wouldn't be the first miscellaneous incident of its kind in the Forsaken Lands and certainly not the last..."
Noreen burst out laughing, her chiming, rather high-pitched voice not at all matching her current appearance. Ikaris and Malia smiled as well.
"What's so funny about what I said?" Kailu snorted with a slightly offended expression.
Ruvaen said nothing but was clearly interested in the reason for their hilarity.
"Because those two are even less human than we are." Liam stated flatly.
Kailu blinked stupidly, then finally took the time to scrutinize the appearance of this power couple more carefully. Pretty... Orange eyes... Pretty... Red Aura! He then noticed the assortment of rings on Malia's fingers.
"A Vampire?!" He blurted out, a chill of fear coursing through him as he realized he was standing unaware next to such a nocturnal predator.
" A Dhampir Kitsune to be exact." Malia rectified coquettishly, pointing at her eyes. " True Vampires have red eyes."
Kailu gulped and his gaze then turned to Ikaris. "What about him?"
"Didn't Asselin tell you?" The youth reproved with an irritated undertone.
"What hasn't he told me?" The Healer stared at him dumbly.
"Sigh... Tell them." Ikaris gave up, leaving Malia to brief them on the kind of Lord and nation they had chosen to serve.
Kailu's face dropped as they got nearer to the forest. The only good thing was that it wasn't because of the increasing likelihood of encountering Undeads. He was more afraid of his own companions.
"A Crawling-Thrall, a Vampire, a Dire Werewolf, and something else related to necromancy and dark magic..." He repeated white as a sheet as if he had lost his soul.
"A Nephilim of Faulch." Ikaris completed, bringing the sentence down.
"A Nephilim of WHAT?!" The Healer almost fainted. He obviously knew the uniqueness of the members of House Morgunis.
At that moment, he began to sweat profusely. His brother Asselin had screwed him up big time. And on top of that, his new lord just had to tell him everything on the first day.
Now if he tried to run away he would only arouse suspicion. He might even be killed on the spot to keep the secret from getting out.
'Calm down, Kailu. Asselin knew about this and he would never try to fool me.' He tried to convince himself, but his face was still very pale.
Then the Healer took in the unbelievable. 'They are all extremely calm and clear-headed. The leader as well as these four Werewolves.'
Perhaps that was why such a nation could come into being. His curiosity to find out what such an atypical Lord could accomplish by bringing all these freaks together suddenly got the better of him and he finally managed to calm down. He would stay a little longer.
As for Ruvaen, he had become pensive. He doubted he could tolerate humans, but he was beginning to realize that being an elf was nothing special at Last Saint. There were far weirder people than him and they all coexisted in harmony. In fact, humans were destined to become the minority.
"We're entering the Tartarus Gate Forest" Liam suddenly informed them, beckoning them to be quiet. "Javier, show us where you spotted it."
The super beefy grey Werewolf nodded and walked past, whipping out his war hammer. He also carried a short sword just in case, but there was no better weapon for smashing skeletons.
After passing through the giant chestnut and maple woods on the outskirts, the vegetation on the ground quickly became lusher while the air began to cool as the sun's rays penetrating the tree canopy became more and more scarce.
Along the way, the four Werewolves killed many giant mosquitoes, spiders, and dragonflies with remarkable efficiency. Ikaris never realized that Last Saint hunter-gatherers faced such danger when they ventured into this section of the forest.
Then the insect buzzing stopped and Javier waved them to a halt.
"I spotted it here."